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Pilot / Namiki Vanishing Point — Round 3


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68 replies to this topic

#1 southpaw

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 18:12

Personal Note
I feel like I have gained so much from FPN and contributed so little, so I decided to do something about it. Not much, granted, but at least it's something. I thought I would review some of the FPs I have. I've been working on the reviews on and off for a bit now. Hope they are of some benefit - but remember, just one person's opinion. Here's the first of several:

Overall Design (5/5)
The VP is an engineering marvel with its retractable nib. The concept is rather unique for a fountain pen. However, the design is much more than a novelty. It is very practical, as you never have to worry about misplacing the cap or the cap coming loose. The execution of the design is carried out with extreme precision as evidenced by the long amount of time nibs take to dry out.
The VP design is also very robust. This is a pen that feels like it was designed to handle the rigors of daily life in a hostile world. The ease and affordability of changing nibs is also an asset.
The only area of controversy surrounding the VP is the placement of the clip. Due to its design, the VP is the reverse of a typical ballpoint or roller ball in that the pushbutton is on the opposite end of the clip and nib. This puts the clip right in the middle of your grip. To help alleviate any ergonomic problems this might cause, Pilot/Namiki indented the clip right where your thumb and forefinger come together, assuming certain things about your finger size and grip style, of course. Nevertheless, it’s a “love it” or “hate it” feature.
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Size & Weight (4/5)
The pen has some heft to it given its all metal construction. The pen is similar in size to a posted Pelikan M200, albeit thicker in the grip area. The weight is significantly more than an M200. All in all, it feels good and robust in the hand.

Dimensions on the VP are:
Pen length nib retracted = 140.5 mm
Pen barrel diameter max = 13.0 mm, grip = 11.2 mm
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Top to bottom: Pelikan M200, VP, Cross ATX, Sheaffer Prelude

Nib(s) (5/5)
I ordered my VP with two nibs – a medium and a fine. The medium is very smooth with a little bit of spring, and lays down a nice fine line as is typical of Japanese mediums. The fine, accordingly, writes more like an extra fine. Given the nib size, it too is quite smooth and has a touch of flex / spring. These are great nibs, especially when you consider that they are: 1) 14k; 2) smooth; 3) reliable; and 4) inexpensive ($14 with converter when I ordered mine).

Filling Mechanism (2.5/5)
The VP is a cartridge / converter filler. The converter comes in two types: squeeze and piston. Both of my nibs have the piston-type converter. If the clip placement works for you, then this is the pens weak spot. The converters have a tendency not to fill all the way, even when the nib is immersed completely (along with a portion of the metal converter). Many of the converters also have minuscule ink windows which border on useless. This may explain why many take to refilling Pilot’s proprietary cartridges with bottled ink via syringe.
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Fit & Finish (5/5)
I ordered my VP with the Blue Carbonesque finish. All fittings are flush and tight. The finish actually has a bit of texture to it. This may be a slight benefit if you tend to have sweaty hands while writing. The finish on the Blue Carbonesque parts and the rhodium plating is excellent.

Value (5/5)
The functionality of the pen and it’s relatively unique design, combined with good nibs, make this pen a good buy. I purchased mine from Pam at Oscar Braun Pens (no affiliation, just a happy repeat customer). The VP, an extra nib, and a bottle of Waterman Blue-Black ink was less than $100 including S&H when I ordered it! That’s value.

Summary (4.5/5)
Little more can be added to what has been said. This pen is highly recommended as long as the clip placement isn’t a problem for you. If possible, pick up a squeeze converter for it and enjoy!

Here's a writin sample to show the difference between the nibs - please excuse the chickenscratch. Sorry part of it got cut off - scanner problem.
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"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

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#2 Roger

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 22:03

This, as your first today, was the last I read today, so by now I'm plumb wore out! :P I've used up my complimentary word quota for the month, so that's it!

But, it was another nice review!
Roger
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#3 Apollo

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 22:06

Nice review, Southpaw! The Pilot VP is a classic for sure. You're right about the pen being one of those "either you like it or you don't" when it comes to the clip. Personally, it doesn't bother me in the least, but for some it is an issue. It's too bad there's no window to view the ink level when using the converter, but otherwise it's a fantastic pen.
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#4 TMLee

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 01:19

Thanks fo rthe great review Southpaw...

Can someone explain what causes the squeaking in these nibs ?

I managed to ground down the nib but the squeaking remains, I am guessing the part , no matter how little , that isn't ground , is contributing to the squeaks ....

pretty uncomfortable, supposed to go away after some use according to someones reply here, but strangely it doesn't in mine ....

what gives ?

rgds
TMLee

#5 Apollo

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 01:29

VP's are known to squeak when new, but it does go away.
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#6 Ann Finley

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 05:12

The side-by-side pen comparison was a nice feature in this review, and that was the best shot of seen of the Blue Carbonesque, giving me an idea of what it really looks like. Thanks for the review, and BTW you contribute more than you realize to FPN.

Best, Ann

#7 garythepenman

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 20:34

Southpaw please can you advise who to contact regarding ordering a VP. We have no distributors in New Zealand and I need to find a dealer who has good stock levels and offers fast delivery etc..A website will be fine. I realise you don't work, sell, advertise VP's etc etc..ususal disclaimer.
I have an early plastic / steel Namiki but would like to get a late version.
Thanks in advance.
Gary
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#8 wimg

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 21:14

Hi Southpaw,

I seem to have missed this review earlier. Thank you for a great review, of a lovely pen (and I know, becuse I have a very similar one :D).

Warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever


#9 wimg

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 21:16

Southpaw please can you advise who to contact regarding ordering a VP. We have no distributors in New Zealand and I need to find a dealer who has good stock levels and offers fast delivery etc..A website will be fine. I realise you don't work, sell, advertise VP's etc etc..ususal disclaimer.
I have an early plastic / steel Namiki but would like to get a late version.
Thanks in advance.
Gary

Hi Gary,

Try Pam at oscarbraunpens.com. Email or phone her, she is a great lady and has the best prices. I live in the Netherlands, and got myself some pens from her, and I am a very satisfied customer!

Warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever


#10 southpaw

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 21:28

Southpaw please can you advise who to contact regarding ordering a VP. We have no distributors in New Zealand and I need to find a dealer who has good stock levels and offers fast delivery etc..A website will be fine. I realise you don't work, sell, advertise VP's etc etc..ususal disclaimer.
I have an early plastic / steel Namiki but would like to get a late version.
Thanks in advance.
Gary

Gary,
I'll second what wim said. I got mine from Pam and she is a pure delight to deal with. Usual disclaimer. Great prices, great service. Happy repeat customer.
HTH, southpaw

Website: http://www.oscarbraunpens.com/
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

#11 Macuser

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 21:51

I plan on visitng Pam sometime after the holdiays and this pen is on my list to pick up. I have read noting but great things about it here. Thanks for the fantastic review.

#12 Maja

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 01:37

Hi Southpaw,

I seem to have missed this review earlier. Thank you for a great review, of a lovely pen (and I know, becuse I have a very similar one :D).

Warm regards, Wim

I missed it, too! :blush:

Thanks for the great review Southpaw! I have a maroon VP with chrome trim that I got from Pendemonium at the Portland Pen Show in 2004. It came with a custom ground cursive italic nib and I love using it. It was one of the few fountain pens that I actually used at work in the pharmacy because it didn't have a cap.
Vancouver (B.C) Pen Club (our website)

#13 inkyfingers

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 19:07

Interesting to hear that others have experienced the VP squeak. Mine does that too, but I've just recently emptied it of its first fill of ink. Perhaps it will go away in time. My guess is that the squeaking comes from either some material on the nib that will eventually wear off (though not the case if grinding doesn't silence the squeak, as one has said), or perhaps the fit of nib to feed (either in the materials used, or tolerances inbetween) is the cause.

I don't like the squeak very much. It distracts me from my thoughts; while that may not normally be such a bad idea, it isn't very helpful to me while I'm trying to write them down!
-Mike
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#14 cmeisenzahl

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 18:11

Great stuff, thanks!

#15 mkoenig

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 20:56

Southie,

Great review, and particularly good timing for me!! I purchased my VP, Blue Carbonesque for 89.99, plus tax at Daly's Pen Shop in Milwaukee, WI. I bought my wife one last year, her first fountain pen, and boy was I jealous that it found it's way into her hands, instead of mine :)

In any event, just filled it with ink (Run of the mill Quink Blue), and save the fact that I don't think it fills all the way (sound familiar), it's a gem to write with. Did get some squeakin' as well!! People around the office ohhhed and ahhhed, couldn't believe the clip position, nor the retractable "ink dropper thing" as one colleague dually noted.

In any event, it's weighted beautifully, writes like butta', and looks incredible!

Great review again...

Cheers,

Mark

#16 TMLee

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 14:55

Hi All...
Bin away for some time now.... busy...

Gee whiz... everytime I use the VP, the squeaks irk me so much that I feel like the girl being tortured by Herbert Lom in Peter Seller's "The Pink Panther Strikes Again"

still squeaking
TMLee

#17 Goodwhiskers

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 18:29

Mine squeaks too. Apollo says the squeak goes away. I don't mind it very much, just like I don't mind the filling system.

BTW, my VP has the piston converter. When I hold the VP's working unit horizontally and shake it gently until the ink goes horizontal, the window does show how much ink is left in the converter.

#18 Bill Smith

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 16:17

Southpaw,

Excellent review! I have owned the Pilot/Namiki VP for a couple of months now and I aggree that they are really nice pens for the price. I also agree that the converter is the blindspot on the design but I can live with it.

Bill :D
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#19 TheNobleSavage

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 16:36

Mine squeeks too but either it goes away with time, or I dont notice it or I am deaf. My wife tells me that I have selective hearing!!! I tend to agree!!! :lol:

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#20 Jestre

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 01:10

Oh, if I could just get it to fill with ink... :)
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